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N’Delta Groups Dare FG Over Botched Meeting

…Reject further consultations until…

As individual and groups express anger and disappointment over the sudden cancellation of the meeting between Niger Delta stakeholders and the Federal Government delegation  expected to be led by the chief of staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Service, UNDEDSS, said there will be no further discussions with the Federal Government on issues of the Niger Delta people following the botched meeting with the Federal Government last week.

Rising from an emergency meeting, the group said all future cooperation with the Federal Government has ceased.

In a statement after the meeting through its Secretary-General, Mr Tony Uranta, UNDEDSS said the decision would remain until the 2016 16-point demands laid directly before President Muhammadu Buhari “were urgently and comprehensively met as promised by the president at a parley held in Aso Villa with representatives of the group and Niger Delta leaders.”

The statement reads: “Niger Delta will mark any putative regional leaders who will attempt to break the no more dialogue embargo.Enough is enough. We shall no longer remain in a union where we are third-class citizens. 

Also, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) described the failure of a federal government’s delegation to show up for the meeting, planned at its instance with key stakeholders of the South-South geo-political zone, as one insult too many.

The meeting, which was scheduled to hold last Tuesday, to discuss critical national issues was botched at the last minute, after traditional rulers, the governors, clergy, elders, leaders, women and youths of the six South-South States had gathered in Port Harcourt, and waited for hours.

PANDEF in a statement issued by its National Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), said the absence of government’s team was a clear demonstration of contempt and disregard for the entire South-South zone.

It said: “The reason offered for the deplorable action is completely untenable and unacceptable. This is one insult too many. How else can anyone explain what happened – if not an act of disrespect, disregard, and contempt to the entire South-South Zone. They went to the North, South-west and South East, met with the people, no emergency security meeting was summoned to stop them from attending those meetings. But when it was for the South-south zone, an emergency arose to scuttle the meeting.

“We have cross-checked and are yet to ascertain that there was any national security threatening situation to warrant their staying away.What they have told us, in essence, is that we do not matter but the truth is that we do matter. It is awful and preposterous for anyone to delude that we do not matter. That they can treat the region that has sustained the country for decades, in this way and manner, only speaks to the kind “upside-down” thinking that has kept the country in its unworthy state” the statement added..

PANDEF said, “we are curious that the ministers and other top government officials from the South-South geo-political zone were also not present for the meeting, and did not deem it fit to call the governors or leaders. Were they also part of the emergency security meeting at the Presidential Villa or they had foreknowledge of the plan to botch the meeting”?

PANDEF further stated “We are, however, not overly surprised at all of these occurrences because we have been talking of the inconsistencies, discrimination and injustice against the Niger Delta region by this administration for the past five years. Let it be known to them that whether they desire to meet with us or not, the people of the South-South geo-political zone have taken a firm stand”.

“This latest event has made it evident to everyone from the Niger Delta Region and South-South zone, the extent to which this presidency can go in disrespecting the region. And so we have to be united and work together, that is the only way we can make any significant difference in the Niger Delta, for the good of present and future generations” , the statement added.

The Chairman the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Rivers State, Comrade Sotonye George in a telephone chat with our correspondent in Port Harcourt said it was a desperate act to further frustrate the people of South-South, especially the Niger Delta region that have been laying the golden eggs for the country.

Comrade George opined that it is a sign of wickedness and injustice to the people of Niger Delta region as the meeting would have been fruitful in addressing pressing issues of the region especially resource control.

He noted that the meeting which would have also addressed the rights of the people of Niger Delta was long overdue, and deliberate act to further trample on the rights and justice of the people.

According to him, Zamfara State is controlling their resources and wondered why Niger Delta region should not control its resources, stressing that despite the 13 percent derivation for the region, there is nothing to write home about as a people that produces oil and gas that is sustaining the country.

George said, without Justice, there would be no peace and further called on the Federal Government to without reservation tender an apology and reschedule the meeting in no distant time to address the agitation by the people.  

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